To Break A Monopoly
Want to watch a livestream? Go to Twitch.
That answer has practically been the one and only answer for a long time now, and this near-monopoly on streaming services has allowed the Twitch platform to grow and expand at massive rates despite being a one-trick pony.
Meanwhile, other platforms like Youtube Live offer similar capabilities but have failed to capture and enthrall a full audience to the magnitude that Twitch has. What’s more, after being bought by Amazon Prime, Twitch Prime became bundled with the online shopping giant’s Amazon Prime, which gave existing Amazon users even more of a reason to try out the very professional and highly polished purple streaming platform.
If someone was to go up against a name like Twitch, they would need to be a name that’s already fairly well recognized in the gaming community. YouTube was a good bet, but has failed to drive too much attention away from Twitch as of recently. But how about Valve?
Yeah. I’d say Valve is big enough.
Valve’s Steam.tv is officially live now, and is complete with Steam’s classy black – grey – blue gradient and a flashy new loading icon.
Its aesthetic is definitely easier on the eyes than something like Twitch, which can be both good and bad depending on what you’re looking for: If you’d like your icons to stand out, Twitch’s Purple-On-White is more appealing, but for late night streams, Steam easily wins out.
Similar to Youtube’s livestreams, Valve’s service allows users to scrub through streams and find important moments, but even more impressive, the current stream of the Dota 2 International has marked the big team-fights so that a user can quickly and easily skip to the action.
However, it’s unknown how this process works: Is the system somehow searching through the game’s data for a focused number of kills/deaths in the killfeed at specific points to determine when these fights are happening, or is it up to users to mark the videos? Either way would be an interesting update to streaming tech, and would allow users to further customize their videos to aid in a viewer’s entertainment.
In a Blog Post about the streaming of the Dota 2 event, Steam devs have stated that more of such customization options will be added as the platform expands, but they do not state what users can expect with these updates.
One feature they do mention, however, is the ability to make watching a Twitch stream more of a private experience: Now, users can create private sub-rooms and allow only their friends to join their chat channel of a specific stream. Want to watch the Dota 2 international, but only want to text chat with your friends? On Youtube Live or Twitch, you’d have to use a secondary app to set up a private chat channel, but Steam.tv does it all in one.
If Steam keeps up with these innovative and interesting updates to the way streaming works, they may very well gain an edge over the giant that is Twitch.tv. These updates seem integrated enough that it would take a significant amount of time for Twitch to simply copy them onto their own platform, so Steam may be able to pull a significant number of users over before the inevitable idea-stealing comes to pass. If you’d like to check out any of these new features for yourself, feel free to head on over to Steam.tv and get a good look at the newest competitor in the world of gaming livestreams.